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Every Major Detail We Saw In The Gotham Knights Gameplay Demo

There are few games as highly anticipated as "Gotham Knights." Initially unveiled in 2020, Warner Bros. Games' latest crack at a "Batman" themed entry isn't really a "Batman" project at all. In this world, Batman himself is feared to be dead after an explosion, leaving the protection of Gotham City to his four proteges: Nightwing, Robin, Red Hood, and Batgirl. Though not a sequel to the revered "Batman: Arkham" titles per se, "Gotham Knights" has been billed as a fresh and fun experience for "Batman" fans everywhere.

A 2021 launch window accompanied the initial "Gotham Knights" announcement. Due to various development issues and challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the game was later delayed to October 2022. Outside of the first trailer, prospective buyers had seen very little of the upcoming title's gameplay. That all changed on May 10 when Warner Bros. dropped a brand new demo showcasing gameplay for both Nightwing and Red Hood. Here are the biggest takeaways from the footage.

Gotham Knights has unique methods of traversal

One of the first aspects that greets gamers looking forward to "Gotham Knights" in the new trailer is the game's traversal and travel system. Nightwing, for instance, has a small glider called the Flying Trapeze he uses to move long distances between buildings. Red Hood, on the other hand, uses the more supernatural Mystical Leap to get from point A to point B. According to game director Geoff Ellenor, Red Hood gained this power after a sect of assassins brought him back to life. These travel options must be unlocked during your playthrough.

You'll find a similar system for Fast Travel around Gotham City. In one short snippet, Nightwing arrives directly at a location using the Fast Bat, a glider-style transportation tool players can also unlock. It remains unclear whether the Fast Bat is exclusive to Nightwing or can be used by all of the Gotham Knights, though Ellenor seems to imply the latter.

Red Hood fires nonlethal rounds

Though Red Hood has had several different iterations since their comic debut in 1951, the Red Hood in "Gotham Knights" is none other than Jason Todd. A former protégé of Bruce Wayne, Todd was introduced as the second Robin once Dick Grayson became Nightwing. Todd's backstory is rather tragic as well, with him dying in brutal fashion at the hands of the Joker. More violent than his fellow Gotham Knights and possessing a somewhat anti-hero demeanor, Red Hood uses handguns as his weapon of choice.

In the new trailer, Ellenor says that Red Hood fires nonlethal ammo at his enemies that somehow still pierces enemy armor. However, some people watching the trailer noted that despite their nonlethal nature, these rounds still pass through the various enemies he fights. Though this could be a technical oversight on WB Games Montréal's part, it does look a bit off. For now, fans will likely have to take Ellenor at his word that Red Hood will not kill enemies left and right — even if he has no qualms murdering criminals in the source material.

Characters have several upgradeable outfits

No superhero is complete without their superhero costume. It's an essential component of their identity and a key part of making a hero iconic in their own right. "Gotham Knights" clearly understands this, allowing players to select from a list of costumes for each character. If you don't really care for Nightwing's standard attire, slap on the Momentum Ability Suit for a sleeker, more metallic look. These outfits all have individual pros and cons and, according to Ellenor, can be upgraded as players progress through the game. 

You also have the ability to upgrade your equipment. Upgrades can be made using crafting materials received after completing missions or various side activities. Some suits also have Mod slots for additional enhancements via Mod Chips. Ellenor says that suits with Mod slots are definitely the way to go to maximize each character's abilities.

The Gotham Knights have investigative abilities

At one point in the "Gotham Knights" trailer, Nightwing and Red Hood separately infiltrate The Powers Club, an apparent Court of Owls stronghold. While there, investigation prompts viewed through Augmented Reality Vision highlight blood stains on the ground and a contraption hidden beneath the floor. By analyzing the stains and device, Nightwing eventually opens up a secret staircase leading underground. The ability to investigate and analyze such details doesn't seem exclusive to any one character as both Nightwing and Red Hood use the skill.

As Ellenor explains, the mechanic functions as a tool for uncovering mission-specific mysteries, as well as solving puzzles. The developers designed this feature to take "Gotham Knights" in a new direction and distinguish it from its predecessors. Emphasizing detective work will hopefully contribute to greater immersion and freedom, though the entry hasn't abandoned its "Batman: Arkham" roots.

Holy frame drops, Batman

In a press release, WB Games announced the cancellation of the last-gen "Gotham Knights" versions, revealing instead that the game will be exclusive to next-gen consoles and PC. With the PlayStation 5 and the Xbox Series X|S nearly two years into their life cycles, more and more developers and publishers will likely look to the future and start creating titles meant for the new generation, leaving the old one behind. There are, however, some concerns with this strategy pertaining to "Gotham Knights."

Though it isn't ugly by any means, many observers pointed out that the game doesn't quite reinvent the wheel when it comes to graphics. Additionally, "Gotham Knights" seems to struggle with janky animations and frame rates that falter during intense action sequences. The most notable example of this in the trailer occurs when Red Hood fights a heavy Court of Owls enemy type. While both enemies seem to use supernatural powerups and fiery attacks, the frame rate slows to what can only be considered a crawl.

Of course, "Gotham Knights" is still a work in progress and a lot can happen between now and October. But given this game's technical issues at this stage, it hasn't really justified its existence as a next-gen exclusive.